Cocomo: House of Nature for Your Hair and Skin

Startup: Cocomo
Name: Ritu Shah
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.cocomo.in/
Designation: Digital Marketing Manager
Founder Name: Rashmi Jalan
Founder Year: 2018
Country: India

My Start-Up Story:

Cocomo from House of Nature is created me – a mother who is passionate about providing natural body care products for children.

I realized the importance of ‘natural care’ for children after the birth of my own. Unable to find genuinely natural products for them, I had to get almonds and coconuts individually pressed for pure oil on a monthly basis. As they grew, so did my concerns and search for products that could effectively cleanse and protect their sensitive skin. I traveled the world in search of ‘more natural’ skin and hair care products customized for kids between the sensitive ages of 4 and 15 years.

In exploring children’s products available, I found a glaring gap. On one end were infant care products too gentle to wash away the sweat and grime of kids at an active age. While the other end was filled with adult products that were unhealthy and full of nasty chemicals, or simply didn’t smell nice (according to the kids!). Children’s bodies are more susceptible to harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and sulfates as their brains and bodies are still developing. Which is why, I decided I had to bridge this gap and create something which is specific to the growing children.

Disappointed and disenchanted, I enlisted the support and expertise of an expert cosmetologist and my trusted circle of equally passionate moms. We decided to take matters into our own hands and, after several years of hard work and extensive research, Cocomo was born. Cocomo is a self-funded startup. I got tremendous support from my family and friends who encouraged me to go ahead with my entrepreneurial dream. Most people think that in order to have a successful startup company, an entrepreneur needs to be young and single. You must devote all of your time to your business, sacrifice your personal life and friendships, and use weekends and holidays as extra work days.

And while much of this is true, I have found that in spite of the hard work and sacrifices, it’s my connection to my family that gives me the ability to thrive as an entrepreneur. I would argue that having a family life can help entrepreneurs become even more successful with the added support and happiness that families bring. My sons gave me the constant support and motivation that I needed.

Cocomo takes its cues from the natural ingredients and traditional wisdom of its country of origin, India. In Cocomo, we have combined that wisdom with contemporary, evidence-based research to create truly healthy and kid-friendly products. Our products are mindfully infused with engaging colours and fragrances that add oodles of fun to their personal hygiene, keeping moms and kiddos equally happy. We are enthusiastically committed towards providing dermatologically-certified, 100% toxin-free, natural products for children.

This start-up journey was an exciting and challenging one for me! There were a lot of ups and downs in my start-up journey. The best and most fun part has been working with mothers and kids at every stage to incorporate their feedback and meeting their unfulfilled needs. We were blown by the positive response to our products. It is extremely gratifying to see happy customers who enjoy our products.

The most important goal is to establish trust in the consumer’s mind by providing products that are safe for the skin and hair. Every product that we bring out is undoubtedly safe as our children and our families are the first users. Continuous research, setting the highest standards of safety in creating the best for the next generation helps us connect to children and their parents.

As a parent we understand you are very concerned about what goes onto your child’s skin and hair. We take care of your child as if they were our own. My team has been with me through thick and thin and we completed one year this May! I have a small team of 4-5 people who help me run my startup smoothly. Their confidence and hard work has made my business journey easier. Now coming to the bad part, there are many people who try to bring you down and demotivate you. It’s difficult to handle such people without support from family and friends. Another challenge is work-life balance. While work-life balance is a challenge for both men and women, women can often feel more conflicted between work and family life due to social and cultural norms.

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, mothers with children are three times as likely as fathers to say that being a parent made it difficult for them to advance in their career. Fortunately, my husband and other family members shared a lot of household chores and I could dedicate good amount of time to my business. We, women entrepreneurs need to learn to be comfortable delegating tasks and asking for help when necessary. This makes life easier.

My start-up grew smoothly over the course of one year. Instead, we even won an award in kid’s skincare award category. It was a dream true for me and my team. We worked hard for this and getting an award in the first year itself is a big achievement for us. Now, my goal is to expand my business and be an inspiration for all mothers like me to be independent and follow their dreams fearlessly!

Rashmi Jalan.

CEO, Director & Founder of Cocomo.